- Written by Antoinette Radford
- BBC News
Poland, one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies, has announced it will no longer supply the country with weapons as a diplomatic dispute over the grain escalates.
The country’s prime minister said it would instead focus on arming itself with more modern weapons.
This step comes as tensions escalate between the two countries.
On Tuesday, Poland summoned the Ukrainian ambassador over statements made by President Volodymyr Zelensky at the United Nations.
He said that some countries demonstrated solidarity with Ukraine, which Warsaw denounced as “unjustified in relation to Poland, which has supported Ukraine since the first days of the war.”
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced the decision to stop supplying weapons to Ukraine in a televised speech on Wednesday after a day of rapidly escalating tensions between the two countries over grain imports.
“We no longer transfer weapons to Ukraine, because we are now arming Poland with more modern weapons,” Morawiecki said.
The grain dispute began after Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine closed key Black Sea shipping lanes and forced Ukraine to find alternative land routes.
This, in turn, led to the arrival of large quantities of grain into central Europe.
As a result, the European Union temporarily banned grain imports to five countries; Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia to protect local farmers, who feared Ukrainian grain would drive down prices domestically.
The ban expired on September 15, and the European Union chose not to renew it, but Hungary, Slovakia and Poland decided to continue implementing it.
The European Commission has repeatedly stated that it is not up to individual EU members to set the bloc’s trade policy.
Ukrainian Economy Minister Yulia Sverdenko said, “It is very important for us to prove that individual member states cannot ban imports of Ukrainian goods.”
But Poland said it would maintain the ban, and “a complaint before the World Trade Organization does not impress us.”
Morawiecki said they would increase the number of banned products coming from Kiev if Ukraine escalates the grain dispute. The Polish Foreign Ministry added that “pressure on Poland in multilateral forums or sending complaints to international courts are not appropriate methods for resolving differences between our two countries.”
Despite the ban, the three countries said they would still allow grain to be transported through them to other markets.
Kiev called on Poland to “put aside emotions” after recalling its ambassador and instead suggested that the parties adopt a constructive approach to resolving the dispute.
French Foreign Minister Katerina Colonna said on Wednesday that a European Union study revealed that Ukrainian grain imports would not paralyze European farmers, and described the tensions as “unfortunate.”
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